Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Worth of a Child according to Scientific Atheism Compared to Christianity

How valuable is the life of a child? What value would you place of the life of a child?

What value would you place on the life of this child?

Is she precious? I may be biased, but I reckon she looks rather cute.

Well, how about this one? What value do you place on the life of this little boy?

As you look at the two of these children, can you honestly say that one is more precious than the other? Yet according to the majority opinion in many societies in the world, one of these children—the little boy—should have been destroyed in the womb. One of these children, to quote the obstetrician, “has so many problems it won’t last long.” This particular doctor said three times that the normal thing to do in this situation is to terminate the pregnancy. Because the child was not “normal” or “perfect,” it no longer had the right to live.

Suffering from the effects of spina bifida (such as being unable to walk), this child may have more difficulties to face than others, and even though I cannot say that he is more precious than the little girl, perhaps the child that your heart goes out to more is the child who through no fault on his own will have more challenges to face in life than many of us able-bodied types.

But why should you pity him? In fact, why should we pity any child? Do you pity the child destroyed in the womb? Do you pity the newborn child abandoned by its mother, left to die in a shoe box, or left to drown in a toilet? If the existence of this universe and life on our planet is merely the product of chance, if we human beings are merely the result of a random process of evolution, then why pity anyone? If there is no God, if we exist here as a result of some random fluke, then life is merely the survival of the fittest.

Western civilisation is currently in the middle of a battle between two philosophical systems: a battle between Christianity and so-called scientific atheism. Some of us might think that we do not need to make a choice between these two systems, but to sit on the fence is not an option. Either God exists, or he doesn’t.

According to the latest theories of scientific atheism, our universe somehow—without any cause but simply by chance—began with the big bang some 13.75 billion years ago. They say that life on this planet is simply the result of 3.5 billion year process of random mutation and natural selection.

But what do you think? The universe is actually so big that the scientists say that it is effectively infinite. The observable universe has a diameter of 93 billion light years. In terms of kilometers, that’s virtually a 9 followed by 26 zeros. And they reckon that this observable universe is filled 100 billion galaxies, and contains at least sextillion stars (that’s 10 to the power of 21 stars), although a recent study has suggested that this figure is out by a factor of 300 (that makes it 3 times 10 to the power of 23). The maximum possible number of stars the average person can see on a dark night in the countryside is about 45,000, but typically it’s only about 5,000 or so. The figures are simply mind-blowing. If this is just random, we have to conclude that it is amazingly productive randomness.

And I am yet to mention the abundance of life on the planet that we call Earth. Have a guess how many species of life exist on this planet! I can’t give you a definite number, because the scientists themselves can’t. Their best guess is that the total number of species on earth is anything from 7–100 million. This includes anything from 5–100 million species of bacteria (possibly many more); around 100,000 kinds of fungi (which includes around 14,000 different kinds of mushroom); and around 300,000 plant species. When it comes to animals, there are over a million different species, most of them insects. Altogether there are around 950,000 different species of insect (including 4,500 different species of cockroach); over 30,000 species of fish; over 6,000 different kinds of amphibian (mainly frogs); over 8,000 species of reptile (mainly lizards and snakes); around 10,000 species of bird; and around 5,400 kinds of mammal. Millions of different species, and this all the result of of 3.5 billion years of random mutation?

Honestly, what is easier to believe? That all of this variety—the billion upon billions of stars, and the millions of different species that inhabit our planet—is just a fluke; or that there is some amazingly powerful, creative designer behind the universe? Which view requires the biggest leap of faith? What odds do you give everything coming from absolutely nothing? What odds of a new species randomly developing on earth on average every 35 years (assuming there are 100 million different species)? Yet scientific atheism laughs at Christianity for believing in miracles!

But putting aside the incredulous nature of the kind of faith demanded by scientific atheism, the biggest problem with scientific atheism is the consequences of this worldview for morality. If this is all some big fluke, if the existence of the universe and life on earth is simply the result of chance and the survival of the fittest, then whoever has the biggest gun wins, and you have no right to complain about it when you lose. Scientific atheists have no real right to speak of love, of justice, and what’s fair and what’s not. Why are you fighting for the rights of workers when they are just random blobs of genetic material? Why cry for the poor children of Africa? Why care for the sick, or the aged, or the young? If it’s all just chance, then why not be honest with yourself, and admit that you have no sound philosophical basis for any non-arbitrary moral code in life? Scientific atheism is logically amoral.

Scientific atheism is about the survival of the fittest, the converse of which is the elimination of the weak; and that is why in many societies today it is considered the norm for children diagnosed with spina bifida to be destroyed within the womb. I have been told by a doctor specializing in spina bifida that the rate of termination in Australia is heading toward 75%. This is particularly tragic when you consider that most kids with spina bifida are children of average intelligence with nice personalities and the ability to speak. The one pictured above has a wonderful sense of humor, an infectious laugh, and is a budding cricketer. So what if they can’t walk, or if they need a shunt in their head to deal with hydrocephalus? They don’t deserve to live or to be protected and nurtured like any other child? Eliminating such children before they travel through the birth canal is consistent with the scientific atheistic worldview, which promotes the idea that the history of the world is structured on the principle of natural selection, where the stronger random blobs of genetic material subjugate or terminate the weaker random blobs of genetic material.

But this is not the Christian understanding of reality. Christianity says that this universe was made by a powerful Creator. It also says, as the story of the incarnation of Christ clearly reveals, that the Creator of this universe values his creation so much that he was willing to enter into his creation, to take his place within it. Many religions believe in God, but Christianity is the only religion radical enough to say that the Creator values his creation, and human beings in particular, so much that the powerful Creator himself was willing to become one of us, to come down to our level in order to take us up to his. The story of the incarnation of God is not a story about the survival of the fittest. It is a story about the strongest becoming weak in order that the weak might become strong. The incarnation of God is God affirming the value of human life. The incarnation of God honors the human race, and places great value on every individual human being. And to think that Christianity says that the Creator of this universe became incarnate with a view to dying on the cross for humanity! Surely this is one of the most radical ideas that has ever been proposed in the history of religion and philosophy. The incarnation is the Creator saying that you are so valuable as to be worth the Creator of the universe dying for. In this way Christianity gives a sound moral basis for the ideals of love, justice, and human rights. God the Creator becoming a child means that every child is more than just a random blob of genetic material, and that every child (no matter their ability or disability, whether born or unborn) deserves to live and to grow to his or her full potential.

So which philosophical system affirms the value of humanity, and the precious worth of every child? Scientific atheism or Christianity? Philosophically I think the answer is obvious.


ioana90 said...

In my opinion, who are we to say which of these two children is more precious. Or play GOD and terminate the life of an unborn child just beacuse they are "not perfect"? Ultimately, it is God who gives life and takes life. He created us each with a purpose because in his eyes we are perfect. Obviously, these children with spina bifida are going to face many challenges and obstacles, but what person doesn't? For each of us has strengths and weaknesses that limit us in some ways. As the saying goes "nobody is perfect". If Christ choose to only die on the cross for those people who He thought were "perfect" or "the superior being" then none of us would be alive and be able to have a relationship with the Father. The answer is obvious that every child is precious and valued.

abcd said...

Everyone has the right to live.

sensualmove said...

"No one is perfect".

"Everyone has the right to live". All of us has has our own levels imperfection. And despite these imperfections we still can live to serve our purpose in this world.

In contrary to the Atheists belief about "survival of the fittest", well, let these children live and see how they will survive. Many many famous people have made great things for the existence of mankind. Some of these successful people just to name a few are Bill Gates in business; Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan in sports, and even in film like Stephen Spielberg, Cher, Jack Nicholson. These famous people have learning disorders and they obviously made it to the top. I always believe that we all have our own ways of survival and coping up with our imperfections and the environment that we live in. So either a baby in the womb is diagnosed with or without spina bifida should be give the right to see the world and see they will survive.

I am aware of the Philosophical saying that -- "the ultimate end justifies the end." Terminating the babies life in the mother's womb avoids the possible hardship and difficulty the child and the parents will undergo in the long run justifies the purpose of this action. But letting the child live and giving them the opportunity to be a part of this world being a unique being and who knows be the next Bill Gates, Michael Jordan or Steven Spielberg also justifies the means why they are meant to be on this earth.

Every single breath we give and take, every single beat of our heart and pulse of our veins serves it's purpose to give us life... so is the child in every mother's womb.

cjepp said...

'Is one child more precious than the other...' I believe that no one has the right to decide whether or not a child is precious, perfect or meant to live. I am not a Christian, yet I am a firm believer in 'everything happens for a reason, if something is meant to happen it will.'
Therefore if a child is born with spina bifida and survives birth than that child is meant to live their life, see and experience the world for however long they can.

The termination percentage isn't much surprise to me, it's terribly sad but not surprising. With the way society is today almost everyone expects perfection and have been brought up in a media driven world were perfection is what we should strive for. The media has brought out the selfish nature in everyone and hence why the termination rate is high, horrible as it sounds most couples do not want to handle the difficulties that come along with a child diagnosed with spina bifida and so they terminate, which is their decision. Maybe in some cases it is the right thing to do but half the time it is because no one really wants the burden of a sick child, no one wants to see their child suffer and/or die before them. Being Christian or other it is a hard decision to make.

The scientific numbers and statistics about the species on earth and the stars in the sky are amazing, makes it hard to believe in 'random mutation'! It does require a HUGE leap of faith. As a non-religious person I am caught in the middle...

This blog entry gives everyone something big to ponder and turn to their own lives and maybe make some changes, or decisions that will lead them down the right path and maybe even recognise God for what God is and has done for us all.

cjk11 said...

After reading this article it made me feel sick to my stomach that some people believe in terminating the life of someone else if they are not classified as 'perfect'.

No matter what the circumstances are i beleive anyone deserves the chance to live whether they are perfect or not. Especially those who have not done anything wrong.
These children didn't ask to be diagnosed with spina bifida.

In this particular situation they are only innocent and the fact that some of them may not be able to determine whether or not they should be given the chance to live in this world saddens me.

What i don't understand is what is the world coming to ? In today's society acoording to media reports, magazines, television shows etc it is giving the idea that everyone needs to be simply perfect.

However I for one disagree. I wouldn't know of one person in this world who is perfect. Life shouldn't be based on perfection.

These children have the right to live and anyone who takes that away from them i beleive should'nt be given the chance to live in this world also.

RevelationStryker777 said...

I am currently living with a boy who has down-syndrome. His real mother rejected him and so a wonderful family have taken him into their hearts instead. He is now the joy of the family, everywhere he goes, people can’t wait to give him a big hug or find out how he’s been doing. He is a performing artist and he loves to dance and play instruments and sing. Last night I watched a live performance where a boy with down-syndrome got up on stage and did a 10minute performance titled ‘Beautiful’ and he was fantastic! He ended up winning the runner up prize! To think that both of these boys would be viewed as “deformed” or “abnormal” is to suggest that there is a bar when we classify people as being “normal”. I do not have down-syndrome and yet my history would prove that I am much more deformed than both of these boys put together!
There is a tribe in Africa where they believe that if you are born as a twin, you bring a curse on the entire village. They then take the second born child (they let the first one live, it came out first so it is stronger) and throw the baby over a cliff and watch its head smash into the rocks. In doing so, they believe the curse is appeased. How can we say that what they do is wrong when in actual fact, it is no different from believing that a baby with a disability should be killed. Both result in the rest of the community being affected “negatively” by that baby therefore the baby deserves to die.
This mentality, of getting rid of everything that makes us feel or look bad, is what controls the world today. It is what drives the consumer society, the “let’s not think about the consequences, or the effect we’ll have on others or the next generation, it suits us so let’s do it!”, “just do it!”, “abort the baby, you’re not ready for it”, “as long as you’re happy, it’s all about you, it’s all about you, it’s all about you” society. Scientific atheism is not so much a reason for why people do not believe in God; rather, it is a justification for people to continue to live life thinking about themselves.

RoiRacoonOfFire! said...

I do not believe that sitting on the fence is an option. Both biblically and for the sake of having an opinion but creation and evolution needn't be exclusive. So therefore, I don't necessarily agree. I am a strong believer in Creation or to better word it a Living God but I wouldn't compare it to science in order to contrast it. Moreover, I would not tag any discussion about human morality.

I believe when God breathed life in to us, we were made to love. Some people call this the gift of grace, some, plain humanity. The fact that some prefer to call it humanity does not mean I do not believe it is the love and grace of a kind Father.